Serita and Lila SST5

19 May


Lila:                                        1990 AGED 7 YEARS OLD:


Serita:                   I feel like when the stabilizers came off at 7 years old.

When the hands of the gentle giant let go I made my way I made my first journey on 100 yards of concrete.

I was free and a friend was born.

From that day I never let go of the steel circular tubes which became my vessel of choice.

There I was flying up kerbs and down kerbs around bends and through jitty ways.


Serita:                                   150 BC

Lila:                        They set off on what was about to become The Silk Road,

                           wrapped in a false sense of pink, buds moistening at the taste of new.

Feet cracked like the map of a desert trail, guiding them towards a new type of friendship.

The Middle East sent spices and herbs. Russia sent Furs. China sent silk.

It was hot. Naive tongues scraped across dry eager lips.

 ‘The Land of Death’ declared duels on traders with vicious sand storms.


Lila:                                                        1995: Aged 11 years old:

Serita:                   All across the shadow of Robin Hood’s stomping ground from the north tip of his hat to the east point of his arrow this was my compass.

Each morning this arrow landed and off I went on my adventure, long days peddling in the hot sunshine and sunset evenings.

I would examine my vessel like a mechanic knows his or her car

Every gear,

Every knot in the chain

                                                                              Every shred of rubber

Lila:                                                        Every camel loaded        

Serita:                                                   Every puncture that led to a flat

Lila:                                                        Every child kissed goodbye

Every handle bar dislocation to be tightened up with Mr Allen’s key.

Serita:                                                   140 BC

Lila:                        Skin flinched at the grasp of a homeless flea.

Ears flicked at relentless flies.

                                Understanding grew, starting from Universal natural instincts.

Serita:                   We needed each other.

Lila:                        A point or a shake of the head.

Then Maths. Dividing symbols of heritage for exchange in the towns along the road.

                                They found ways to barter, building relationships, based on the trust the other was not a bandit about to take back what he had just swapped – and more. A nod, until the Greeks introduced the hand shake. An action, which when two hands met peace was signified. Declaring they had no weapons.

Serita:                   Rust was the bandit of my bike.

Lila:                                        1997 AGED: 13:

Serita:                                   To the cooking oil used to quench a rusty chains thirst.

My vessel was my best friend my voyage companion There we were together learning new tricks I imagining there was an engine.

We were inseparable I thought we would never be apart.

Serita:                   10BC

Lila:        The sweet must of incense blocked the scent of greed, leaving space to share philosophies. Temples and tombs were built so traders could still pray; far from home. Buddhist monks mesmerised the path leading West; where Christianity thrived.

Lila:                        1999 Aged:  15:

Serita:                   Our journeys were magical ours journeys seemed to never end

Lila:                        Their journeys were indescribable discoveries of  fusing cultures.

Serita:                   … Until one day I didn’t feel like picking you up and taking you out today.

Pictures of boys (and girls) raced and peddled through my mind and adorned my bedroom wall as once you and I once did.

Now I would only grease you JUST IN CASE I had to run an Errand your cogs would squeak and splutter back to life as though being revived after almost drowning in a sea of grass.

 Serita:   date (need to work out)

Lila:        Hunger, phased out caravans and camels and horses from the long distance treks. They preferred the speed and cool salty sea breeze of ships, so new Maritime routes were opened. The subtle language of exchange changed, when maths became more than division, quality and inequality divided countries expansion of trade.

Lila:                        2001 Aged 17:

Serita:                   JOY! OF JOYS! I made new friends you were getting old and rusting I no longing examined you hurt my eyes to look at turning them as medusa would turn skin cells to stone with a mere glance of her cornea’s.

I no longer touched your soft rubber skin, the rain tore chunks of flesh of your body your tears of paint rolled, dripped and bled into the grass below.

I found alcohol, fake I.D’S and nightclubs

Lila:                        They found technology.

Serita:                   and text messages on mobile phones and found and lost a virginity of innocence.

Serita:   date (need to work out)

Lila:        And with technology the sun dried lips moistened, and  returned home to greet wives with silk that would sit on their shoulders and stroke their nape.

Serita:   I was leaving you

Lila:                        When robes became business suits, a spiral of technology transpired. Dragging your aching muscles in the search for black peppercorns, would no longer be required. The anticipation of a spicy firework intensifying on the tongue, corn clenched between molars, awaiting the explosion as they mounted horses, packed clippings of silk found on the dead, packed weapons and pulled up their boots could soon all be done in front of a computer.

Lila         2002 Aged 18:

Serita:   Right under my bedroom window you listened as I squealed with delight I was to leaving Garfield road to be leaving you to start a new life and education in another city.

The turning beating heart of your life force snapped in into brittle shards past summers of us together now long gone just a memory… like a sunset leaving this side of the planet as the illusion of going down takes a hold and took the breath from you in the process.

Serita:   2000

Lila:  Teenagers stood over their parents and watched their fumbling fingers searching for the correct letter key.

Serita:   We lost touch

Lila:  A lonely terrain of traders traversed the City of London – on mobiles. Kids chatted online.  Charities, looked after each other globally. Like the symbolism in the progression of language, it was painted onto bus stops, into phones, magazines.

                In English ‘avocado’, in Spanish Aguacate which comes from the Aztec word ‘ Aguactl’ – testicle. Symbolism is still cool, but not when a screen with XXX at the end of a text expresses more feeling than an awkward face to face meeting.

Lila:        21st of September 2002:

Serita:   This was the last day I it the car packed with boxes and the house voiceless and motionless there it was my best friend now it was skeleton a mere frame the grass had now drowned you it have creeped into your wheels around your delicate frame.

I said goodbye to every room in the house and then to you.

Serita: 2013

Lila:  Awareness, of . . . . .don’t  forget to put high definition into things that can feel (not sure what to do with this bit!

Lila                                                         June 2013 Aged 28:

A new chapter begins and a new friend with an engine


I had imagined all those years ago seeps between my fingertips

I feel aged 7 again…

Making my first journey upon 100 yards of concrete when the hands of the gentle giant let go

Hello, we thought as they both relate to communication we’d try and intertwine the 2. We’re thinking we need to work out bits to make them more closely related, we’ll be adding some bits in but be good to know whether you think this would work. Also Lila’as narrative towards the end loses its thread a bit so any tips on this. Thanks!


One Response to “Serita and Lila SST5”

  1. mouthypoets May 27, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

    Hey Lila & Serita,

    So so great to see you working together, a really exciting mix of voices and writing styles here! Sorry this feedback is a bit late but hopefully it will still be helpful.

    Overall I think it does work, and I actually like how different the pieces are and how spralling the narrative is. Yes, it could be clearer and tighter and I have focused on where it works tightly and where it could be tighter below to tackle that. I also think overall it would be good to sit down together and plot out what is happening in the poem in 8 bullet points. Then when editing and cutting you will have a clearer idea of what is working towards that overall narrative and what is distracting from it.

    More detailed points below…


    -I like that each of you act as the Narrator for each other, saying the ages/dates and marking out the movement of the piece, I think this gives the audience a sense of structure and therefore something to follow.

    -Some lovely imagery throughout this piece. I particularly like the way the images move, particularly as this is a comment thread between your pieces; movement, travel, progression. Some images I enjoyed in particular;
    “All across the shadow of Robin Hood’s stomping ground from the north tip of his hat to the east point of his arrow this was my compass”
    “wrapped in a false sense of pink, buds moistening at the taste of new.”

    -I love how small and vast the images can be, it gives a real sense of intimacy but also universality: I feel like I am connecting with it emotionally because I can feel the flee on my skin and my bum on the bike flying through side roads but at the same time I am watching myself, in this massive world and feeling isolated and scared and courageous – just like the characters both of your pieces follow.

    -I like how massive this section is, how much history it covers…
    “They found ways to barter…(up to)…Declaring they had no weapons”
    -But for those same reasons it feels less easy to understand, is there a way you can root this down and let me know why is is relevant to the overall poem? I think some of my points in questions might help you do this with some minimal tweaks to language and line breaks.

    -Great balance of childlike language and accurately balances description: “Rust was the bandit of my bike.”

    -I love the tenderness and working class connotations of this line, it is so relatable!
    “To the cooking oil used to quench a rusty chains thirst.”

    -This is personification at its best in this piece… “the rain tore chunks of flesh” simple and visual.

    -Lila I love the sense of music, internal rhyme and alliteration in your sections, it gives the piece drive and mystery alongside Serita’s more concrete narrrative.

    -I like how the ideas and lanaguage start coming together in this section, I think its visceral and successful…
    “I found alcohol, fake I.D’S and nightclubs

    Lila: They found technology.

    Serita: and text messages on mobile phones and found and lost a virginity of innocence.”


    -Have you thought about movement in this piece? I think what was done with the piece on friday – mirroring movement between you is a great idea. Because these pieces can feel so separate in places, this could do a lot to create a sense of resonance between you.

    -Who is the gentle giant?

    -How have you chosen your line breaks and stanza lengths in this? I feel like you could utilise a consistent stanza and line length to use less words and highten the meaning of each section. For example, the first stanza could be…

    When the stabilizers came off
    The gentle giant let go:
    My way. My first journey.
    100 yards of concrete.

    I was free. A friend. A birth.
    Never letting go of the steel
    circular tubes: a vessel of choice.
    Flying up kerbs and down

    around bends and through
    jitty ways.

    (LILA, you can do the same in your sections…)

    They set off. On what would become
    The Silk Road: wrapped in false pink,
    buds moistening at the taste of new.

    Feet cracked like the map
    a desert trail, guiding towards friendship.
    The Middle East sent spices and herbs.

    Russia sent Furs. China sent silk.
    It was hot. Naive tongues scraped
    dry eager lips. ‘The Land of Death’ –

    duels on traders.
    Vicious sand

    -Can you see the difference?
    -In doing this edit I realised you often use more words than you need to, I do this too when I use the prose format. I often use stanza’s of the same line count and length to push myself a) to tighten up my language aka use as few words as possible and b) to focus on each stanza having one unit of action and therefore clearing up the narrative my audience is going to follow. Try it yourself, not necessarily how I have done it, you know the meaning so you know what units of meaning you want, but push yourself whatever you choose to do.
    -This will hopefully also get you asking yourself: what do I mean? How can I highlight that on the page and therefore in performance?

    -(In Lila’s section) Who are “They”? We have I, in Serita’s piece and then They in Serita’s? The audience will be looking for a connection, most likely in people? There doesn’t have to be one, but for me the connection isn’t clear. What is the connection for you and how can you make it stronger? Maybe it could be in shared verbs or similes or metaphors (like in this poem:
    For example, your first transition could look like this…

    around bends and through
    jitty ways. Mud spraying up like sand.

    140 BC

    They set off, a thousand bare feet like metal wheels.
    On what would become The Silk Road:
    inflated with a false pink,

    -Obviously, these are my words but hopefully you can see the idea behind what I am doing to connect your pieces through a subtle use of language?

    -I don’t understand this line, ” Understanding grew, starting from Universal natural”?

    -I am not sure I understand why you have positioned the lin, “We needed each other.” where you have, I feel like it suggests the two stories more than they actually are. Why did you chose to do this? I feel like I am probably missing something?

    -What is the purpose of the date and ages? Maybe this will help you work out the dates you are not sure about?

    -I don’t understand this section, “I no longing examined you hurt my eyes to look at turning them as medusa would turn skin cells to stone with a mere glance of her cornea’s”?


    -I agree with Tshaka’s initial comment, just put the ages at the top of each sections. This will also allow for less words in places e.g. in the “7 years old” section the first line could read, ” I feel like when the stabilizers came off.” – I think this is a much stronger first line, less words makes it cleaner, sharper and more direct. Then you can keep the year to mark Lila’s section and this acts as a clear way of categorising the two sides of the poem.

    -There are times where you TELL me too much when I want you to SHOW me. In the following sections ask yourself, what image/act can I use instead to show my audience what this means (just like you do with the cooking oil, and the sand storms in other parts of the poem); “We were inseparable I thought we would never be apart.,” “my best friend,” “Their journeys were indescribable discoveries of fusing cultures,”

    -Have you thought about naming the bike? Because at times the you’s and I’s and they’s get confusing? If the bike had a name I think this would avoid the confusing because you could address the name rather then it/he/you?

    -Overall I think it is too long, when working on the editing above look at what you can cut and how you can strengthen the ideas with less words. All the beautiful content is there, so keep the best (there is a lot of greatness in here). You can the core structure and the heart of the piece so lets prune it so we can see more of that.

    Debris x

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